• Monday, May 16, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Fear of stigma keeps women from reporting abuse

  • Published at 11:05 pm October 27th, 2016
  • Last updated at 11:48 pm October 27th, 2016
Fear of stigma keeps women from reporting abuse
Fear of stigma and retribution keeps girls and women from reporting abuse to the law enforcement agencies, according to legal experts and rights activists. Added to that is the social taboo against being vocal about abuse, which prevents victims from seeking justice to save their “honour,” the experts said. According to Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers Association (BNWLA), 2,481 cases of violent acts against women have been reported to the authority from January to July this year. Of them, 824 cases were of public assault, 459 domestic violence, 434 trafficking, abduction or missing persons, 251 sexual harassment and 240 rapes. But the real numbers of such cases are significantly higher and have yet to be reported, experts believe.

Most abusers are family members

In most of the cases, abusers of women – especially young girls – turn out to be close family members, which is why a majority of such cases go unreported, said BNWLA Executive Director Advocate Salma Ali. “You will find hundreds of cases where the rapist or molester of young girls and women are their fathers, uncles, cousins and other close male relatives. Hundreds of such incidents are happening around the country. But they are not reported for fear of being shamed,” she told the Dhaka Tribune. Why abuse victims keep silent Experts said abuse by male relatives is particularly rampant in slum areas, where parents do not pay much attention to the whereabouts of their children. “Parents of the victims choose not to report these cases because they fear it would hamper chances of good marriage proposals for their daughters,” Salma said. “Our patriarchal society has a lot to do with this horrific situation,” said Dr Syed Md Saikh Imtiaz, chairman of the department of women and gender studies at Dhaka University. “Fear of taboo and the families' priority to maintain their so-called honour and social status keep the victims from coming forward and seek justice.” “It is a matter of grief that in some families, fathers hold the family honour and dignity in higher regard than getting justice for their daughters.” Imtiaz told the Dhaka Tribune. “It is the male perspective of society. It must change if we want to curb violence against women. The victims, too, have to break their silence if they want to be safe in this patriarchal society.”

Culture of impunity

Ayesha Khanam, president of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, blamed the culture of impunity in the country's judicial system for the rise of violence against women. “Too many people get away with committing crime, which makes it easy for criminals to abuse women and evade justice,” she told the Dhaka Tribune. She also said the number of law enforcers dedicated to dealing with violence against women should be increased and provided with gender-sensitive training. Dr Sadeka Halim, professor at the department of sociology in Dhaka University, said: “Girls and boys should be taught to be sympathetic towards other genders from an early age, and information about reproductive health and sex should be taught to adolescents so that they can't be lured into committing a crime.” Table: Reported cases of violence against women

Lengthy legal process is discouraging

Saikh Imtiaz said the long-winded process to get legal help, faulty investigation for rape or other cases of abuse and local representatives' actions to keep the crimes under wrap are also big reasons why most victims don't pursue legal system to get justice. Asked about the lengthy legal process to resolve such cases in court, Salma Ali said it was because the existing legal support was vastly inadequate to deal with these cases. “There is a backlog of cases at all the courts. In addition, there are very few court benches that work with cases with violence against women, which is why the case proceedings take much longer that they should, which ultimately discourages victims to seek legal help.” She further said these cases should be tried under speedy tribunal and criminals should be sentenced to punishment in the shortest possible time. “Ensuring justice is the only way to make victims put their trust in the country's legal system and report the abuse they suffer,” she added.
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail